By Stephen H. Mack
I love reading about acts of kindness, selflessness, and charity. Let’s face it – with the state of the world as it is some days, we need regular doses of joy and encouragement. To be sure, it is hard to always keep a positive attitude with the daily stressors that invade our lives. But, as a Dad, it is one of my greatest hopes to help foster a true sense of giving – of generosity – in my children. And, I look at generosity in a number of ways:
1) Be generous in spirit. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Choose your words wisely because they can be sharper than the most powerful sword. Meditate. Pray. Search. Understand the universe around. Be generous to yourself. Be patient. Heal. Honor yourself with kindness.
2) Be generous in service. Volunteer. Serve others with no intent for gain yourself. Serving others is one of the most rewarding feelings you can experience because you are warming a heart, bringing a smile to someone’s face, and helping someone who needs you in that moment. Give of your time, your expertise, your patience, your love. Reach out your hand to a fellow human being and connect through service.
“Choose your words wisely because they can be sharper than the most powerful sword”
3) Be generous financially. We often misunderstand the concept of financial generosity, assuming that we must give hundreds or thousands of dollars to be considered “a generous donor”. Not true! How about stopping at that neighborhood lemonade stand? Twenty-five cents for a refreshing drink and support of a young entrepreneur. Or maybe $25 to your local food bank. Or maybe $10 for a local kid to mow your lawn. The opportunities are boundless and do not need to involve deep pockets.
4) Be generous in friendship. The unlikely friendship between spider and pig in Charlotte’s Web was a masterpiece of children’s literature. My favorite quote therein was: “You have been my friend, replied Charlotte. That in itself is a tremendous thing.” Everyone needs a friend. Everyone needs to know that someone is there for them in case of need. For some, it is harder to make friends than others. Be generous with friendship. Certainly, do not get taken advantage of, but seek out ways in which you can befriend another. It is one of the most spectacular of human relationships to be a true friend.
I certainly hope that my children will take these ideas about generosity and make them part of who they are. Already, though, I can tell you they are most generous with their love of me and their mother and with their daily hugs, kisses, and laughter. Generosity never sounded so good!